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Care of the Teeth. 



MRS. 1VL. W. J. 



Bath, Maine. 






l^e-f. f^lV) 


No child should be allowed to have a decayed 
tooth (sufficiently so to ache), and no mother 
should be allowed to remain in ignorance of the 
means by which this result can in a majority of 
cases be secured. 

Naturally anxious for the best welfare of her 
child, physically as well as mentally and morally, 
well-meant advice, kindly proffered, couched in 
proper terms, coming from a competent source* 
will never be rejected by any sensible mother. 

If proper advice were given every prospective 
mother regarding the care of herself, especially in 
regard to furnishing abundance of proper nutrient 
elements, " bone and tooth food," from the very 
hour of conception, children would be born with 
the tooth-germs so well nourished during foetal life 
that they would erupt at the proper time with little 
or no disturbance, and they would be of such fine 
structure that but little care beyond strict cleanli- 
ness and proper diet would be required to keep 
them sound and perfect. 

To attain this most desirable end, however, 
mothers must be taught how much depends upon 
their own efforts, rightiy guided by the wise in- 


structions of those made competent to guide and 
instruct by a lifetime of research and study. 

Teach mothers that the teeth are not formed, as 
so many evidently suppose, during the few weeks 
or months preceding eruption, when the gums are 
swollen, and the child cross and peevish, but that 
they date their existence almost from the very be- 
ginning of foetal life ; that as early as the sixth or 
seventh week after conception the germs of the 
teeth are forming in the dental groove — soft and 
pulpy, it is true, until about the fourth month, 
when calcification begins, the whole tooth being 
thoroughly solidified and the enamel formed before 
it makes its appearance in the baby's mouth, ex- 
cept that the root continues to elongate. 

As the teeth can only be formed from tooth- 
material, and as this is required from the very earli- 
est beginning of the germ formation, teach the 
mother that she alone can and must supply this 
material. If she does not furnish it, designedly or 
otherwise, in sufficient quantity over and above the 
amount requisite for her own use, it will be sub- 
tracted from her own osseous tissues, and she will 
suffer correspondingly, not alone in her teeth and 
bones, but under very insufficient regime even " the 
brain will become enfeebled from lack of phos- 
phoric acid, and the muscles pale and flabby," and 
the mother absolutely famish for lack of the neces- 
sary elements of nutrition, eVen while apparently 
enjoying the most luxurious diet. 


Teach the mother what this tooth-making ma- 
terial is, and where she is to find the necessary 
elements. Teach her that she must not only have 
proper food, and sufficient food, but that her sys- 
tem must be kept in condition to digest and assimi- 
late this food. Teach her the importance of 
physical exercise, of fresh air and sunlight, and of 
cleanliness, as indispensable adjuncts to diet. 

Teach her that these principles must be applied 
and these precepts acted upon, not only through 
the nine months of gestation, while she supplies 
all the elements of nutrition through her blood, but 
also during the whole period of lactation, when 
her milk is not only the sole magazine of lime-salts 
for the further development of the teeth and bones, 
but the only source of nutriment for the whole body 
of the rapidly-growing child. 

If, after weaning, she will habituate her child to 
plain, wholesome food, with scrupulous cleanliness 
of, and abundant exercise for, the organs of masti- 
cation ; provide it with comfortable, easy dress, 
and enforce strict obedience to the laws of health, 
what a splendid race of men and women should 
we see in the next generation ! 

In the words of Dr. Welchens, " Good, substan- 
tial food, containing all the elements necessary to 
build up and nourish the various tissues of the 
body — clean, warm clothing to protect the surface, 
and regular out-door exercise, all with temperance 
and moderation, will not only raise the child well, 


but, in a large majority of cases, raise a denture 
well calculated to withstand the changes of life, 
and endure the wear and tear of mastication." 
Mothers and children would thus attain a higher 
standard of physical development, for these bene- 
fits could not accrue solely to the teeth. U A 
knowledge and observance of nature's laws must 
result in an improvement of the whole being, body, 
mind and heart.' * 

Extract from "Education of Mothers," by "Mrs. 
M. W. y." in Southern Dental Journal, October, 

>T. i otj 





how the body is built up — importance of 
the teeth in the human economy. 

My Dear Young Friend : 

A year ago you left us, a happy bride ; you then 
felt that nothing could be added to the complete- 
ness of the tie binding husband and wife ; now, 
however, you write me that a still greater fulness 
is to round the measure of your life ; you ask me 
to tell you how to live, so that the new life, now 
being built up from your own heart's blood, may 
be physically pure and perfect. 

Especially in regard to the formation, growth 
and care of the teeth do you desire advice and 

Much is involved in these momentous questions ; 
they have formed the subject of earnest investiga- 
tion and profound thought ; the laboratory of the 
chemist and the microscope of the histologist have 
aided in solving the mysteries of life. 

lB RAftf 




You know that your body is built up, little by 
little, from the materials gathered from your food, 
aided by exercise, fresh air and sunlight. 

From your food are gathered the elements that 
knit the bones which form the framework ; the 
flesh which clothes the bones ; the blood that 
courses through the veins ; the nerves, and the 
brain which controls the whole. 

If the food does not contain the various elements 
necessary to build up the several portions of the 
body, so different one from the other — the bones 
solid and unyielding ; the flesh so delicate and ten- 
der ; the blood so brilliant in its coloring, rushing 
through the veins and arteries, distributing the 
life-giving elements to every portion of the system, 
each little drop coming back to the heart every 
half-minute, bringing its portion of that which has 
been rejected as worthless — disease and death will 

In the meat and the bread, the fruits, vegetables 
and other articles which make up our daily food, 
must be found all the constituents of bone and 
muscle, flesh, blood, and brains. 

This food must not only be taken into the sys- 
tem, but it must be thoroughly prepared by masti- 
cation for digestion in the stomach, while the 
system must be in such a condition of health as to 
assimilate, or appropriate and make use of the 
food, as it passes into the circulation. 

Without good teeth there cannot be thorough 


Without thorough mastication there cannot be 
perfect digestion. 

Without perfect digestion there cannot be proper 

Without proper assimilation there cannot be 

Without nutrition there cannot be health. 

Without health, what is life? 

Hence the paramount importance of the teeth. 



Because the teeth are of such importance in the 
building up of the body, the creative energies are 
directed toward their formation at a very early 

The dimpled hands and rosy feet of the baby, 
which so delight the eyes and heart of the young 
mother, are perfect in form and shape at its birth ; 
the first pearly tooth does not make its appearance 
until many months later, and six years must elapse 
before the permanent teeth begin to come into 

Six months before the birth of the child the germs 
of the twenty baby teeth are lying, side by side, in 
the dental groove, while the germs of the perma- 
nent teeth are all lying hidden in the tender gums 
when the baby is born ; and yet how many months 


and even years must elapse before the last are 
called into active service. 

And all this time they are growing. Taking 
their shapes long before the little limbs bear any 
resemblance to the plump legs and arms that are 
so beautiful to the mother's eye, the teeth are being 
built up, atom by atom, as the necessary elements 
of tooth-food are furnished by the mother's blood. 

For seven months before, and seven months after 
birth, the first little baby-tooth is growing — at first 
a mere sac containing the pulp, yet bearing the 
shape of the future tooth. In this sac, and around 
the pulp, are deposited the calcareous elements, 
or lime-salts, gathered from the mother's food, of 
which the tooth is formed. 

Little by little, the tender, living pulp is sur- 
rounded by dentine, the bony substance forming 
the body of the tooth. Over this is laid the glassy 
outward envelope of enamel, dense and imper- 
vious to the healthy fluids of the mouth ; and thus, 
perfect in substance, size and shape, the crown 
emerges from the gum, the root growing longer as 
the walls of the socket build up around it to hold it 
firmly in its place. A minute opening at the apex 
of the root called the foramen, gives passage to a 
nerve, a vein and an artery, through which the cir- 
culation is carried on that conveys the nutrient ele- 
ment to every portion of the substance ; for the 
teeth, dense as they appear, are endowed with the 
most sensitive nerves, and are subject to the same 


laws that govern every other portion of the human 
organism, a change of particles — ''composition 
and decomposition " — going on, slow but con- 
stant, as long as life lasts. 

If the great Creator deems the little baby-tooth 
of sufficient importance to require fourteen months 
for its growth and development, while nine months 
suffice for the eye or the ear, should not the mother 
look upon it as a precious jewel, worthy her most 
watchful care lest it suffer injury by her neglect 
and carelessness? 

Should she not earnestly seek to learn what are 
those elements of tooth-food which she alone can 
and must supply, and where they are to be found 
in the greatest purity and abundance ? 

She does this much for her flowers and her bird ; 
can she do less for her baby's teeth, on which de- 
pend so largely its future health and happiness? 



That you may the more readily comprehend the 
necessities of the teeth, and how you may provide 
those of your babe with the proper elements to 
make them so sound and perfect in structure that 
they will last as long as life itself, with proper care 
and treatment, we will now consider "What the 
tooth is," and of " What elements it is composed," 


We have seen that the tooth is an organized 
body, each one having its own nervous and circu- 
lating system. 

The central cavity of the tooth is occupied by the 
pulft, which is simply an enlargement of the nerve, 
vein and artery, mentioned as passing through the 
apex of the root, and thus connecting with the gen- 
eral nervous and arterial systems. 

From the pulp ramifies a circulatory system, 
which carries the nutrient elements to every por- 
tion of the tooth substance, building it up sound 
and strong if the requisite elements are brought to 
it ; leaving it soft and cartilaginous if the supply is 
insufficient ; even taking away from the mother's 
teeth the materials for those of her babe, if she 
does not supply a sufficiency for both. 

The pulp is surrounded by the bony substance of 
the body of the tooth, called dentine , which, being 
liable to decay by contact with various external 
agencies, is protected by a thin layer of the most 
dense material found in the human system, called 
enamel ; its appearance is familiar to all, being of 
a fine glassy texture and smoothness. 

The root, being entirely hidden in the gums and 
bony socket, and thus protected from injurious con- 
tact with foreign elements, is covered with a less 
dense material than either the enamel or the den- 
tine, called cementum; this material bears a closer 
resemblance to bone than any other portion of the 


Now, what is bone? 

If you have ever lived in the country, and know 
anything about raising chickens, you know that 
when eggs are laid with the shells too thin, as often 
happens — sometimes but little more than a mere 
skin confining the contents — bones, left from the 
meat used at table, are heated and pulverized, and 
fed to the hens, to furnish them with lime for their 
egg-shells. When bones are so thoroughly burned 
as to destroy the animal tissues and leave only the 
mineral elements, bone-black is the result, of which 
eighty-eight parts in every hundred are the phos- 
phate and carbonate of lime, the remainder being 
mainly carbon. The teeth, as they stand in the 
mouth, differ from bone mainly in the much larger 
proportion of these elements, about eighty parts in 
every hundred of the constituents of tooth-substance 
being the phosphate and carbonate of lime, phos- 
phate of magnesia, etc. If teeth are burned, the 
mineral elements remain ; if they are dissolved in 
strong acid, the lime-salts disappear, and a carti- 
laginous or jelly-like mass remains, being the ani- 
mal basis with which the lime-salts are combined 
in the cells of which the tooth is built up. 

Thus the constituent elements of tooth-substance 
are both animal and mineral, by, far the greater 
portion of the latter being lime in its various 

You must therefore furnish your blood, through 
your food, with a sufficient supply of lime to not 


only nourish your own bones and teeth, but also to 
build up those of the little being for whose physi- 
cal proportions you are henceforth responsible. 

Upon you, and you alone, is laid this responsi- 
bility. The physical impress of the father was 
stamped, once for all, upon this new being at the 
moment of conception. If for good, you will only 
make it better ; if for evil, you alone can apply the 

From your system alone can the nutrient ele- 
ments be drawn. 

If the supply be deficient, upon you alone will 
fall the consequences, and they are often very 

If the supply be very meagre, your own bones 
and teeth will be drawn upon to supply the defi- 
ciency ; your teeth will become sensitive and pain- 
ful, and decay will set in ; your muscles will 
become pale and flabby, and you will feel weak and 
languid; even the very brain itself, in extreme 
cases, will become enfeebled from lack of the phos- 
phoric acid withdrawn to form the phosphates of 
lime and magnesia entering into the composition 
of the teeth and bones. 

In the words of Dr. G. R. Thomas: " The 
child, while dependent upon the mother, gets lime, 
phosphorus, silex, potash, and all the other ele- 
ments of which the teeth are composed, in just such 
proportions as she gets them from the food nature 
provides, in their natural proportions. But where 


can the child, in its forming state, get these neces- 
sary elements, whose mother lives principally on 
starch, butter and sugar, neither of which contains 
a particle of lime, potash, phosphorus or silex? 
. . . Nothing short of a miracle can give her a 
child with good teeth, and especially with teeth 
well-enameled. " 

I hope that I have now succeeded in impressing 
upon your mind a sense of the solemn responsibil- 
ity you have assumed, in taking upon yourself the 
duties of maternity, and that you are now ready to 
ask me, " Where shall I find these elements ?" and 
that you feel willing to make some little self-sacri- 
fice, if necessary, in the matter of diet, in order to 
benefit not alone your unborn babe ; the results, if 
you are faithful to your trust, will be traced 
through future generations, and your posterity will 
call you blessed. 



To furnish the system with the necessary lime- 
salts, you must not for the moment imagine that I 
would advise you to attempt the use of lime itself, 
in the crude form in which it is known to you, 
though much benefit is derived from the free use of 
lime-water, prepared from this crude lime ; very 
cheaply and easily prepared at home, though quite 
expensive when obtained from the druggist. 


To make it yourself, you require simply a tea- 
cupful of clean lime, such as is used by house- 

Put this in a quart pitcher and fill it with cold 
water, stirring thoroughly until it looks like milk ; 
tie a piece of thin muslin over the pitcher and let 
it stand twenty-four hours, or until perfectly clear ; 
pour it off carefully, straining through the muslin, 
being careful not to disturb the lime, and stop as 
soon as it is the least cloudy. Keep this clear 
lime-water in a bottle for constant use, refilling the 
pitcher on the same lime, and stirring well. This 
can be repeated several times, or until the lime 
loses its strength, when the pitcher must be emp- 
tied and washed, and the process renewed. 

A tablespoonful of this lime-water, in a glass of 
water or milk, is imperceptible to the taste, and 
even two or three are not unpleasant. It leaves a 
peculiarly sweet and pleasant taste in the mouth, 
though if too strong (which should be avoidedj, it 
is harsh and acrid. 

This alone, taken three times a day, has been 
found beneficial to prospective mothers, in harden- 
ing teeth rendered soft and sensitive from deficient 
mineral lime-salts ; also in hardening children's 
teeth, and in hastening their development when 
late in coming into place. 

It should also be used to rinse the mouth and 
bathe the teeth after the use of acid fruits, or lem- 
onade, or strong medicines. Of the effect of acids 


upon the teeth, more will be said in another 

We will now investigate the subject of Food 
Principles, and endeavor to learn where the essen- 
tial elements are to be found, in such shape as to 
be readily digested and assimilated by the human 
system, passing from the stomach to be taken up 
by the little blood-vessels and conveyed to every 
portion of the body, " teeth and toe-nails" in- 

We must know " what to eat, when to eat, and 
how to eat." 

The human body is composed of thirteen essen- 
tial chemical elements, variously combined. These 
same elements are necessarily the elements of the 
food from which the body is built up. 

The most simple classification of nutritive prin- 
ciples places them all under four heads : the 
aqueous, the saccharine, the oleaginous, and the 
albuminous . 

By the combination of these principles our foods 
are formed. Milk, the one article of food furnished 
by nature for the young human being, contains the 
types of all four groups — the aqueous as water, 
the saccharine as sugar, the oleaginous as butter, 
and the albuminous as casein or curd. 

Milk is therefore a perfect article of food, con- 
taining all the essential principles of infantile 

In the brute creation, through obedience to nat- 


ure's laws, the milk is what it should be, and the 
offspring, as a rule, healthy, with sound and per- 
fect teeth. 

That the human mother's milk may be what it 
should be, and her offspring also be healthy and 
have sound teeth, her milk must contain the chem- 
ical elements which are essential to these four 
nutritive principles. Her milk is evolved from her 
blood ; her blood is evolved from her food ; there- 
fore her food must contain these elements. 

Dr. A. C. Castle said twenty years ago, that 
" chemical analysis demonstrates the natural milk 
almost identical with the blood, abounding with 
the phosphates. Indeed, with correctness it might 
be asserted that the difference between milk and 
blood is in color — the one is white, and the other 

It is not necessary that I should place before you 
a list of all the articles of diet from which we may 
obtain the elements of nutrition. 

No one article of diet can supply one single ele- 
ment of nutrition, for so generously has nature sup- 
plied them, and so variously has she combined 
them, that we can hardly go astray if we use her 
gifts aright. 

But alas ! in the refinement of our higher civil- 
ization we deprive ourselves of her most precious 
gifts, rejecting scornfully the very elements most 
essential to our physical well-being. 

The beasts of the field accept her gifts with re- 


joicing, and thrive thereon. The poor savage, in 
his native wilds, has coarse fare and few comforts, 
but he is erect and strong, and his teeth are sound 
and regular. 

A well-known writer and dentist says: "I am 
often asked, when discoursing upon this subject to 
my patients, ' What articles of food ought we to 
eat, in order to make good teeth ? * I answer, 
everything that grows will make good teeth, if 
eaten in its natural state, no elements being taken 
out, for every one of them does make good teeth 
for horses, cows, sheep, and all other animals that 
live on nature's productions, pure and unadulter- 

That you and your children may be strong and 
your teeth sound, I do not ask you to eat grass, nor 
do I ask you to go back to a state .of savagery, but 
I do ask you to take your food in the proportions 
in which nature provides it. 

And this brings us back again to your question : 
" Where shall I find these elements ?" In my 
next letter I will endeavor to help you to answer 
this question. 



The constituents of tooth substance being what 
we are chiefly looking for, we will first take the 
chemical element, calcium, or lime, which we 


have seen to be the principal element in tooth 

Calcium is generously furnished by nature. It 
is found in milk, in eggs, in potatoes, and many 
other vegetables and fruits ; but especially does it 
abound in the grains or cereals which furnish a 
large proportion of our food ; and most abundantly 
is it found in wheat, which furnishes "the staff of 
life " ; but alas ! not in the fine white flour of 
which are made the snowy loaves of bread which 
the good housewife displays with such pride. 

Dr. N. J. Bellows, of Boston, speaking of food, 
says : " It is well known that our pale-faced girls 
and our feeble-minded children are brought into 
that condition mainly by living on sugar, butter, 
and superfine flour, out of which have been taken 
the very elements that make bone and blood, and 
give energy to the brain and nervous system ; and 
the common sense remedy for all these terrible 
evils is to be found in a simple resort to nature's 
own storehouse." 

In 500 pounds of whole grain (wheat) there is : 
Muscle material . . . . • 78 pounds. 
Bone and teeth materials . . 85 " 
Fat principle 12 " 

500 pounds of fine flour contain : 

Muscle material 65 pounds. 

Bone and teeth materials . . 30 " 
Fat principle 10 " 

Thus, in flour, as generally used, to quote the 
words of Dr. John Allen, of New York city, a den- 


tist of fifty years' experience, who has given this 
subject much attention : 

" We change the proportions of the mineral ele- 
ment (which is deposited in the outer portion of 
the grain) by bolting out nearly two-thirds of it 
from every barrel of flour, and discarding it from 
the staff of life, simply because it is the fashion to 
have our bread made of the finest flour that it may 
be white instead of dark. 

" It is estimated that a healthy child consumes 
half a barrel of flour in a year, and if this be fine 
white flour the child is denied twenty pounds a 
year of that portion of the grain which contains 
the proper materials for bones and teeth. This 
deficiency of the mineral element in the food 
causes the teeth to be comparatively soft and chalky 
in their structure, and the result is, in this country, 
where fine flour is principally used for bread, there 
is not one in twenty without more or less decayed 
teeth before they have passed the morning of life." 

Flour from the whole grain of wheat, as pre- 
pared to-day, is very different from the old-fash- 
ioned u Graham flour, " though still retaining the 

It contains all the mineral elements, but the outer 
portions of the grain (in which these elements are 
found, and which is separated and rejected by the 
" bolting " or sifting process which gives the fine 
white flour in general use) are so finely ground, 
and so thoroughly incorporated with the whiter 


portions or heart of the berry (which contains no 
gluten, but only starch) as to change only the 
color of the flour, while making it sweet and pleas- 
ant to the taste, and without any of the unpleasant 
coarseness of the olden methods which incorpo- 
rated the bran in coarse flakes, repugnant to all 
delicate palates and indigestible to many stomachs. 

The color of the bread made from the " Graham 
flour " of to-day is no more objectionable than that 
imparted to the finest white flour by the sugar, 
eggs, spices and other ingredients used in making 
cakes, which are never rejected because of their 
color, whatever may be said of their digestibility, 
or rather their indigestibility. 

Use " Graham flour," then, for your bread, your 
biscuits, and such plain cakes and gingerbread as 
alone are admissible for children, or for yourself 
either, if you would have perfect health. 

Above all, " Graham gems' 9 for breakfast, in- 
stead of hot white biscuit, battercakes, etc. These 
can only be properly baked in the cast-iron gem- 
pans, which come in sets of from eight to twelve 
shallow cups, joined together in one pan. This 
should be placed in the oven to heat, previous to 
mixing the batter. 

For the batter use only fresh "Graham flour " 
and cold water, with a little salt ; no lard or butter, 
but plenty of u elbow-grease," and no yeast-powder 
or soda. Mix the batter rather thin, and stir rap- 
idly and thoroughly till it is in a foam ; then drop 


it quickly into the hot pans, and place immediately 
in a quick oven, and you will have a light, sweet, 
toothsome puff, which can be eaten with impunity 
by the direst dyspeptic. 

If your grocer cannot supply you with such flour 
as I have described, order " The Best Amber Gra- 
ham Flour "from the " Cascade Mills'' of " F. 
Schumacher, " Akron, Ohio. 

It is preferable not to have a large quantity at 
once, as in warm weather it readily generates small 
white worms and little black weavils. Get your 
neighbor to join you in ordering a barrel, and then 
you will benefit them as well as yourself. 

If fine white flour must be used, the nutritive 
elements, lost in the bran, can be in a degree re- 
stored by the use of Prof. Horsford's " Self-raising 
Bread Preparation " in place of the ordinary yeast 
and u baking powders'' or the old-fashioned 
" Soda and Cream Tartar." 

The former is put up in two small packages ; 
one of chemically pure bi-carbonate of soda, the 
other a combination of phosphoric acid with lime 
and magnesia — the essential constituents of tooth- 
substance. Each package of one dozen contains 
the proper measure and instructions for use. It 
loses its value and "leavening" properties with 
age, and should therefore be purchased only from 
reliable first-class grocers. The two packages are 
combined in u Horsford's Phosphatic Baking- 
powder," but this deteriorates very rapidly, and 


should only be used when known to be fresh 
from the manufacturers, at the Rumford Chemical 
Works, Rhode Island. 

Oatmeal is also an invaluable article of diet, as 
a source of bone and tooth food. 

" Hecker's partly-cooked oatmeal " is to be found 
in every first-class grocery. 

A "double-boiler" is almost indispensable for 
properly cooking not only oatmeal, but also grits 
or hominy, which are also good tooth-food, though 
not equal to whole wheat or oatmeal. 

A porcelain receptacle, suspended in the tin 
boiler containing the boiling water, renders burn- 
ing impossible even to the most careless cook, pre- 
vents all waste, and does away with the necessity 
of stirring ; once placed over the fire, it can cook 
undisturbed until wanted ; indeed, " the longer, the 

Now, if your diet consists largely of milk and 
eggs, potatoes and good meat, with abundance of 
ripe fruits, supplemented by " Graham bread in 
its different forms, and a good bowl of "oatmeal 
and milk " for your breakfast, every day, you will 
not fare very hard, while your system will be well 
supplied with lime-salts for both yourself and your 

If the " Graham" bread should prove really un- 
palatable at first, you can begin by mixing with 
your white flour one-third or even one-fourth the 
quantity of " Graham," and thus accustom yourself 


to it gradually. Even so small a proportion will 
carry with it some benefit, and you will soon learn 
to like it as well, if not to prefer it to all white 
flour. Mere taste, however, is a matter of small 
consideration, compared with the great interests at 

There are some highly-favored portions of our 
country where these precautions are rendered un- 
necessary by kind nature. In Middle Tennessee, 
West Virginia, and the " blue-grass region " of 
Kentucky, the soil, and consequently the vegeta- 
tion and well-water, is so strongly impregnated 
with lime-salts as to give a large supply of this ele- 
ment to all articles of food, both animal and vege- 
table, and consequently a corresponding superiority 
of tooth and bone-structure to both the people and 
the live-stock. 

It is well known that the finest horses and cattle 
in the world graze upon the rich pastures of the 
limestone soil of Kentucky, and that her tall, strong 
men, with their fine teeth, are recognized wher- 
ever they go. 



We have hitherto looked only to diet for a sup- 
ply of lime-salts. 

If you are boarding, or, from any other circum- 
stances, cannot control your diet, or if, from long- 
established habits or constitutional disease, your 


system fails to assimilate the lime-salts as presented 
in this form, and your teeth grow sensitive, ache 
and decay, from the drain upon them in your pres- 
ent condition, you may be obliged to resort to the 
doctor and the drug-store for the same thing in 
less palatable form. 

There are various preparations of the inorganic 
lime-salts, designed to effect the same results and 
supplement the above regime, and which have 
been found very beneficial when the stomach is too 
weak or the appetite too poor to render foods 

Dr. Abbot, of New York, says he finds, where 
children have a repugnance to Graham bread, oat- 
meal, etc. (which will, however, seldom be the 
case if the Graham flour before mentioned is prop- 
erly prepared, and if good oatmeal be given with 
plenty of milk), that the " Syrup of Lacto-Phos- 
phate of Lime " is to be recommended. He says : 
" I have given this to families of several children, 
sometimes at intervals, for years. It is the simplest 
form for easy assimilation, and the children will 
take it just as readily as they will lemonade. I 
have had mothers under my care, from seven 
months before the birth of their children, and ad- 
ministered the lacto-phosphate for weeks at a time, 
for two or three months. I have had hundreds of 
cases, in which the remedy has been used with 
fair results. 

Another eminent medical writer says : 


u During pregnancy many women suffer from 
caries of the teeth and dental neuralgia. The cal- 
careous salts required for the development of the 
foetal skeleton must be supplied by means of an 
increased ingestion of these materials on the part 
of the mother. In default of this augmented con- 
sumption, the nutrition of the maternal bony tissues 
is affected, and dental caries results. Many preg- 
nant women have a morbid appetite for calcareous 
and other mineral substances. Preparations of 
calcium, especially the phosphates and hypo-phos- 
phates, should, in view of the facts mentioned, be 
administered to enceinte females suffering from 
the above dental troubles." 

Dr. Prothro finds " Winchester's Hypo-phos- 
phites of Lime and Soda " very beneficial, while 
Dr. J. R. Walker, of New Orleans, after having 
experimented largely with these chemical prepar- 
ations, finds that he obtains equally satisfactory 
results from the free use of lime-water alone. 

Of course, however, you will consult both your 
dentist and your physician before resorting to the 
above medicinal preparations. 

In this consideration of the elements of tooth- 
substance, we have devoted our attention exclu- 
sively to calcium, not only because it constitutes 
by far the largest portion of tooth-substance, the 
remaining elements bearing only a very small pro- 
portion to the whole, but also because they are 
found in meat, milk, eggs, and other such com- 


mon articles of diet, so that you are scarcely liable 
to fail in receiving an adequate supply. 

Hydrogen and oxygen as combined in water, 
furnish three-fourths of the weight of the human 

Nitrogen is another essential element ; the va- 
rious organs of the body and the blood containing 
at least seventeen per cent. 

Starch, sugar, gum and butter contain no nitro- 
gen, and therefore cannot, either alone or combined, 
long sustain life. Arrow-root, corn-starch, and 
other similar starch preparations so often used for 
infant's food, make only fat, and can only really 
nourish the child when they are prepared with 
milk. It is on record that an English mother, 
some years ago, was sentenced to death for the 
murder of her child, because, in spite of the 
warnings of her physician, she persisted in giving 
it only that starchy form of food, and the child died 
of inanition. I myself nearly lost one of my own 
children through ignorance on this point. 

The babe was reduced to such a point of inani- 
tion that it was given up as hopeless by physicians, 
and was only cured by the persistent use of bran 
baths and bran poultices, from which nourish- 
ment was absorbed by the pores of the skin. 

Let your diet, therefore, be selected with refer- 
ence to these principles. 

The body being made up of many elements 
differing in chemical properties, textures which are 
so chemically different require different aliments 


for their nourishment, a considerable variety of 
food being absolutely necessary for the preserva- 
tion of health and life. 

As the same nutritive element is usually found 
in different articles of food, often both animal and 
vegetable (with the exception of tooth elements) , 
select that which your own experience has proved 
to be best adapted to yourself in regard to diges- 
tibility ; where neither has any decided advan- 
tage in this regard, then consult your taste and 
your convenience. 

Let your food be thoroughly masticated, and 
well mixed with saliva, before it goes to the 
stomach, that it may be the more readily per- 
meated by and acted upon by the gastric juice. 

As the saliva is secreted by the glands of the 
mouth, to be mixed with the food in its prepara- 
tion, by mastication, for the stomach, so the 
gastric j trice is secreted by the glands of the 
stomach, and mixed with the food, in digestion, to 
prepare it for passing into the circulation, to build 
up and nourish the body. If the food is not prop- 
erly prepared in the mouth, by mastication and 
insalivation, the gastric juice cannot so readily per- 
meate and mix with it, and digestion is rendered 
more difficult. 

Aid your digestive powers by exercise and fresh 

Regulate your meals so that all that is eaten at 
one time may be digested and passed into the sys- 
tem before a fresh supply is sent to the stomach. 


The action of the gastric juice or digestive fluid 
of the stomach reduces the food to a succession of 
conditions or states. . - 

If fresh food is sent to the stomach, after its 
work has been going on a little while, the work 
has to re-commence for the new food, and that 
which was already partly digested is almost certain 
to sour and spoil the whole mass. This is one 
of the most fruitful sources of indigestion and 

To use a homely illustration, it is much as though 
you were to put a cake in the oven to bake, and 
when half done take it out to stir in some forgotten 
ingredient ! 

Bear in mind also these general principles : 

" Solid food is sooner digested than liquid. 

" Vegetable food requires for its digestion more 
time than animal food. 

"Animal diet yields a larger amount of nour- 
ishment than vegetable. 

" Bulk should be in proportion to the nutrient 

" Too much rich food overloads and oppresses 
the system, and clogs the organs in the perform- 
ance of their several functions, while the circu- 
lating fluid becomes too thick and stimulating, and 
disease inevitably follows."* 

* For the facts contained in these two chapters on 
"Food Principles and Chemical Elements," I am in- 
debted to that most valuable treatise, "Food and Diet" 




Having learned how to provide your blood with 
the chemical elements essential to the various tis- 
sues of the body, and especially those necessary 
for the formation, nutrition, and growth of the 
teeth, we reach another important point in the care 
of those organs before their eruption : and that 
is, the effect of various diseases upon tooth- 

The rapid heart-beat, and the quick throbbing of 
the pulse of the infant, are a certain index to the 
rapid changes taking place in the growing tissues ; 
any interruption in this growth must leave its im- 
press upon those tissues. Especially is this true 
of the teeth, which, like the hair and nails, being 
dermal appendages (or of the nature of skin), 
are peculiarly liable to be injuriously affected by 
skin diseases, accompanied with much fever. You 
know how dry and lustreless the hair becomes 
during sickness, and how often it dies and falls 
from the scalp, after protracted fevers. You have 
also, perhaps, noticed that there are grooves and 
furrows and white spots on the nails during and 

by Jonathan Pereira, M.D., F.R.S., etc., a physician of 
great experience, a most learned and scientific man, and 
a highly successful writer. His work summarizes the 
investigations of Liebig, Berzelius, Bischoff, and other 
eminent chemists, and constitutes a reliable vade mecum 
for amateur investigators. 


after severe illness. The hair and nails are grow- 
ing rapidly all the time, and therefore these effects 
are promptly visible, while the teeth, after erup- 
tion, being extremely dense and hard, changes in 
their texture are slow and less visible to the eye 
as they effect the internal and less dense portions, 
rendering them extremely sensitive and liable to 

But before the birth of the child, while the teeth 
are growing, such forms of disease as scarlet fever, 
small-pox and measles, in the mother, or suffered 
by the child itself after birth, but previous to the 
eruption of the teeth, leave their impress upon 
those organs as unfailingly as upon the hair and 
nails in after life. 

Another consideration is, that while disease lasts 
there will be little or no. appetite, little food will be 
taken, and even that small quantity will not be 
properly digested ; no new material being fur- 
nished the growing teeth, their development will 
be checked, and, as the final result, the forming 
enamel will be marred by grooves, furrows, or 
white spots, showing after the eruption of the teeth 
the unfailing and indelible marks of "interrupted 
nutrition." Guard yourself, therefore, carefully 
from all exposure to this class of diseases, before 
your child is born — if you are not exempt from 
them by a previous attack, and even then a " sec- 
ond attack " is by no means impossible — and 
shield your child even more carefully, until after 
the teeth are all erupted. 


The pitted and u honeycombed " appearance of 
the teeth, resulting from these causes, is not only 
unsightly in itself, but is a sure precursor of early 
and rapid decay. 

There is another point that is worthy of serious 
consideration, and that is the possible effects of 
vaccination upon the teeth. One hundred years 
ago, when this practice was first introduced, as the 
greatest possible boon to afflicted humanity, little 
was known regarding the development of the teeth. 
The question under consideration was, of course, 
not then raised ; in fact, it is only of late years that 
it has become a matter of investigation. But from 
what is known of the effects of vaccination upon 
the general system, and from the similarity of these 
effects, in a circumscribed degree, to those of small- 
pox, measles and scarlet fever, in the accompany- 
ing "blood poisoning ,, — the injurious effects of 
the latter class of diseases upon the teeth being so 
positively known, it would seem to be only a 
proper measure of precaution to postpone vaccina- 
tion until the teeth are beyond any possible danger. 

The liability to small-pox, for a child, surrounded 
by proper sanitary conditions, and under a mother's 
watchful care, is a contingency so remote and 
doubtful, while the danger from vaccination (if 
any) is direct, immediate and avoidable, that it is, 
as I said, only a wise measure of precaution to 
postpone vaccination until the teeth have passed the 
danger-point; and this is — when? 


Certainly not until after the enamel of the last 
permanent tooth is completed, and the wisdom- 
teeth erupted ; for the pitting and honeycombing 
of even the wisdom-teeth, though not offending the 
eye, as in the case of the front teeth, nevertheless 
renders them liable to rapid decay. 

And even then, can we say that it is consistent 
with prudence, or that we have the right volun- 
tarily to expose the teeth (and the whole system as 
well) to the disastrous effects of interrupted nutri- 
tion? For, as long as life lasts, in the teeth, as in 
all other portions of the body, nutrition is carried 
on through the circulation — worn-out particles 
being removed and new supplied — and while dis- 
ease lasts, there is little or no nutrition supplied to 
any portion of the body ; and in no portion of the 
system are the results of disease more disastrous 
than in the teeth. 

There are also other diseases, as diabetes, con- 
sumption, scrofula, and certain other inherited 
taints of blood, which make their unfailing mark 
upon the teeth ; unmistakable to the well-informed 
dentist, but outside of our field of inquiry. 

Rev. Dr. Kirkus, of Baltimore, in a recent essay 
on Woman, says : u By far the most important in- 
cident of marriage is motherhood, and no doubt 
many girls are allowed to grow to maturity, and 
even to become engaged to be married, without any 
proper warning or instruction as to what mother- 
hood involves. The incredible ignorance of some 


young wives on such subjects amounts almost to 
idiocy. " 

If more, however, was known and understood by 
young people, and taken into consideration before 
marriage, much entailed suffering and misery 
might be avoided, for it is in this sense that " the 
sins of the fathers are visited upon the children 
unto the third and fourth generation." 



We will now pass over the intervening time 
until, when, having given birth to your baby, and 
having nursed it faithfully at the breast, you are 
feeling more or less the effects of this drain upon 
your system, and are looking forward to the time 
when the little pearly teeth making their appear- 
ance will show that nature is preparing the way for 
other food. 

No exact rule can be laid down as to the time 
of their appearance, as it varies with the general 
growth of the child. 

There are on record cases where children have 
been born with teeth in the mouth — Louis XIV., 
of France, having had two ; others who have lived 
to old age without ever having any teeth at all ; 
others, again, who have never exchanged the little 


baby-teeth for the larger permanent ones ; and still 
others who have cut their first baby-teeth at ages 
varying from twelve to twenty-six years ! These, 
however, are abnormal irregularities with which I 
hope your children will never be troubled. 

As a general rule, the baby begins to " cut its 
teeth" (and the first two appear in the centre of 
the lower jaw) at about six months old — four 
months being unusually early, and nine months 
very late. If dentition is perfectly regular, the 
teeth will appear in pairs, alternately, below first 
and then the corresponding teeth above, in the fol- 
lowing order : 

Two in the centre of the lower jaw, and two 
above, called central incisors ; followed by one 
adjoining on either side, called lateral incisors. 

These eight " cutting teeth " will appear notched, 
like the edge of a saw, when they first come 
through, this form facilitating their eruption, but 
this will soon wear down ; they will usually all 
take their places within a short time. 

Then there will be a period of rest ; after which 
the work will recommence far back in the little 
jaw, and a jaw-tooth — double-tooth, " grinder," — 
or, as properly called, molar tooth, will appear, 
one on each side, first below and then above. 

There will now, of course, be twelve teeth, and 
the baby be probably from twelve to fifteen months 

After a rest from the serious effort of pushing 


forward these four large square teeth, the vacant 
spaces are next filled in with the pointed " dog- 
teeth/ ' canines, or as popularly known, u stomach- 
teeth " below r and " eye-teeth" above. 

By the end of the second, or early in the third 
year, the full set of twenty baby-teeth, " milk- 
teeth," or deciduous teeth should be completed by 
the appearance back of each of the first jaw-teeth, 
of another grinder or molar. 

The eight incisors and the first four molars gen- 
erally make their appearance without any serious 
difficulty if both mother and child have been kept 
in a state of good general health, by means of 
proper diet, suitable and sufficient exercise, bath- 
ing, and plenty of fresh air. 

A child ought not to suffer any more when cut- 
ting its teeth than do the young of domestic ani- 
mals ; the process is the same in both cases. 

Many diseases undoubtedly may, and often do 
occur, during the process of dentition, but it does 
not by any means follow that teething is the cause 
any more than it is the result of these diseases. It 
is, nevertheless, a sad fact that children frequently 
suffer seriously when they are cutting their stomach 
or eye teeth, and that the time for the appearance 
of these teeth is looked forward to with grave 

Now why is this? These teeth, having but one 
point to cut through the gum, it would seem as 
though the process should be an easy one, com- 


pared with the eruption of the large grinders, and 
the child being older and stronger should be better 
prepared for it. 

Now there are usually two causes in operation 
about this time which, singly or together, to the 
eye of a mother appear to have much to do with 
causing the sickness and even death of so many 
children at this period of their dentition. 

One is, that the four sharp little teeth above and 
below can bite so hard and cause the mother so 
much pain, and the four grinders are apparently so 
well able to do good work upon food (being un- 
doubtedly designed for this work ultimately), that 
they are put to work too soon, and the change from 
the mother's milk made without sufficient gradual 
preparation of the delicate stomach. 

The baby wants to bite, and instead of being 
given some smooth, hard substance, it is given 
crackers and sweet-cakes to bite upon. This 
starchy food sours upon the stomach, and gives 
colics, indigestion and diarrhoea; or — even when 
it is apparently well-digested — containing no min- 
eral elements of nutrition, fails to enter the blood, 
the babies, even when fat and apparently well- 
nourished for a time, rapidly losing flesh and sink- 
ing under trivial disorders — victims to mineral 
inanition, not to teething. 

Another efficient cause is, that as the baby is 
now creeping about on the floor, or even trying to 
stand alone by a chair, the long clothing, which 


has hitherto protected its limbs so thoroughly, is 
now discarded ; and while the upper portions of 
the body are still well protected, the lower limbs 
are almost bare, except little short socks and tiny 
slippers on the chubby feet, with nothing whatever 
but short, flowing skirts between the top of the 
socks — which are half the time kicked off, too — 
and a garment which is but too often wet and 

The lower extremities being chilled, the chill 
strikes to the bowels, and diarrhoea ensues. Es- 
pecially is this the case in summer. Let the cloth- 
ing be as light as you choose, in hot weather, but 
let it be of uniform thickness, and there will be 
less " summer complaint " and fewer deaths from 

We will now consider the more legitimate troub- 
les connected with teething : 

The teeth in their development necessarily crowd 
and press against the tender gums from within ; 
this naturally causes more or less swelling, redness 
and inflammation, especially in the case of the 
upper teeth. This irritation causes an increased 
flow of saliva, which is rendered more acid than in 
its normal state, by the abstraction of its alkaline 
elements to supply the increased demand of the 
system in developing the teeth. This should be 
corrected by proper diet and the free use of lime- 
water, which is prescribed by Dr. Wm. S. Stewart 
in his highly successful treatment of cholera in- 


This acid saliva, in such large quantities, if not 
counteracted by this simple alkaline treatment, 
becomes one of the chief causes of the " diarrhoea 
of teething/' so often fatal if not held in check. 

A certain degree of looseness of the bowels 
should be no source of apprehension, as it is advan- 
tageous rather than otherwise, in reducing inflam- 
mation, when kept within bounds by judicious diet, 
both on the part of the mother and of the child 
itself, when the mother's milk is supplemented by 
other food. Constipation is much more to be 
dreaded, and must be promptly counteracted. 

The inflammation of the gums — if dentition be 
somewhat irregular, and a number of teeth are 
crowding up at once — may be very severe, and 
produce fever. Too much blood may also be 
determined to the head, and this, at a period of life 
when the brain is very large in proportion, is some- 
times a cause of convulsions, when preventive 
means are not employed. Lancing the gums, at 
the proper moment, is the certain, safe and simple 
remedy, in the hands of an experienced dentist, 
who knows just when, where, and how to do it. 

Another source of intense suffering to many a 
tender babe is earache, a sympathetic result of this 
inflammation, branches from the same nerve sup- 
plying both the teeth and the ear. . . 

The earache, even of a very young babe, is 
readily recognized by the way in which it rests its 
head cautiously against the nurse's breast ; its aver- 


sion to motion, the slightest movement seeming to 
increase its suffering, and its pathetic way of car- 
rying the little hand to the ear, involuntarily point- 
ing out the seat of pain. This form of earache is 
relieved by the same simple remedy — lancing the 
swollen, inflamed gums, just at the right time, by 
a competent dentist or physician. 



As you have cared for your baby's teeth, from 
the very inception of the germs in the dental groove, 
throughout the period of their formation and 
growth, so you must continue to care for them 
after their eruption. 

You must see that they are supplied with nutri- 
ent elements to complete the growth of the root, 
and to keep them in good condition, for — as has 
been said before — in the teeth, as in every other 
portion of the human frame, worn-out particles are 
removed, and new supplies required, as long as 
life lasts. 

The baby's teeth, when they first emerge from 
the coral gums, are like little pearls, white and 
shining, clean and sound ; but they will not long 
remain so, if watchful care be not bestowed upon 


From the moment the first teeth appear, give 
them your personal, especial care. Wash the 
little mouth carefully, and see that no particles of 
milk or other food remain lodged in the soft tissues 
of the lips and cheeks, under the tongue, or around 
the little teeth, to sour and produce disease. 

Wrap a piece of soft linen around your finger 
and rub the teeth carefully and gently ; for when 
they first emerge they have but little root, and are 
held in place only by the elastic tissues of the gums 
and the pressure of the tongue and lips ; as the 
roots grow longer, the sockets are built up around 
them, to retain them firmly in place. 

And right here, let me give you a word of caution 
against allowing the formation of the habit of 
"sucking the thumb" or fingers, no matter how 
much it may appear to help in " keeping the baby 
quiet," for there are at least two ways in which this 
habit is injurious. The teeth not being as yet firmly 
held in place, the constant pressure of the fingers is 
liable to push them into irregular positions, inter- 
fering with distinct speech as well as with good 
looks ; and again wind is swallowed, in the fruit- 
less sucking, and the stomach is unduly distended, 
causing colics and other disturbances. Especially 
is this practice liable to affect the regularity of the 
permanent teeth, if the habit is allowed to become 
fixed ; and even the nose is sometimes permanently 
disfigured by the hooking of a finger over it, to hold 
the thumb in place during sleep. 


As soon as the eight incisors are all in place, 
procure a soft camel's hair baby-tooth-brush, and 
begin that regular, systematic care, which alone 
will preserve them intact. 

Brush them, from the gum towards the cutting 
edge ; downward for the upper teeth, and upward 
for the lower teeth ; never brush them in the con- 
trary direction, as that will inevitably crowd the 
gum back, and expose the neck of the tooth, which 
is not protected by enamel ; and never brush them 
crossways, as it is of no benefit to the teeth, and 
will not remove the food from the interstices, but 
rather pack it in. 

When the molars appear, brush them in the 
same way, all around the crown ; and also rotate 
the brush on the grinding surface, to clean out the 
wrinkles in the enamel, which is frequently incom- 
plete in the centre, minute fissures sometimes 
existing which allow acids from decomposing food 
to penetrate to the dentine and cause decay. 

Care should be taken to remove every particle of 
food from around and between the teeth, every 
time anything is eaten, by at least thoroughly rins- 
ing the mouth with clear water, to which should be 
added a little lime-water, if acid fruits, lemonade, 
etc., have been used. 

This affords an argument for regularity in eat- 
ing, for children who are eating something, all 
day long, will never have clean teeth. The child 
should also be provided with a tooth-pick (and 


taught to keep it always within reach, after solid 
food is allowed, such as is liable to get wedged in 
between the teeth) . Use also a strand of floss-silk, 
or a light rubber ring, to pass between the teeth, 
from the gum down, to dislodge all particles of 

The teeth should be brushed, as described, the 
last thing at night, to remove any possible rem- 
nants of food, and the first thing in the morning, to 
remove the deposits from the fluids of the mouth 
which accumulate during the quiet hours of rest, 
this accumulation being prevented during the day 
by the motion of the lips, tongue and cheeks. 

The same care and treatment that will preserve 
the baby's teeth, will also preserve them at all 
ages ; but you must care for your baby's teeth your- 
self, and only very cautiously and gradually entrust 
this important duty to the child itself, and then, 
only under your own eye, for a long time, until 
you are sure that it will be regularly, thoroughly, 
and systematically attended to. 

Especially in sickness should the greatest care be 
taken of the teeth, for then the fluids of the mouth 
are in an unhealthy condition, and liable to prove 
injurious to the teeth, they themselves, as integral 
organs of the human body, participating in the 
effects of the general disease, suffering from lack of 
nourishment, and wanting in power of resistance. 

The condition of the teeth, after a long illness, 
usually attributed to strong inedicines, is very 
largely due to their neglect at that time. 


The homceopathic patient is apt to find his teeth 
in fully as bad a condition as is the allopathic sick 
man, if no precautions are taken in either case. 

If the patient is unable to bear a soft brush (and 
never use a hard one under any circumstances), 
the mouth must be frequently rinsed with clear 
water, with lime-water, or if the mouth is very foul 
and the breath offensive, with disinfectants or anti- 
septics, as, for instance, listerine, or boracic acid 
solution. A soft rag wrapped round the finger will 
do much to remove injurious deposits. If con- 
centrated acids, as elixir vitriol, or the tincture 
7nuriate of iron, are used as medicines, they will 
only corrode the enamel if left in contact with it. 
A neutralizing mouth-wash, thoroughly used, will 
be more effective in preventing bad effects than the 
use of glass tubes, etc., without the wash ; though 
both are better than either alone. Where the 
saliva is acid from disease, prepared chalk, rubbed 
in round the necks of the teeth and between them, 
and left there through the night, is very beneficial ; 
rinsing with common salt and water is also 

Other conditions of the system, giving peculiar 
odors to the breath, recognizable by the physician 
or nurse, if not by the patient himself, as that of 
ammonia (to which is attributed white decay, and 
deposits of tartar, and requiring preventive washes 
of dilute acids, as well as acids internally) ; or the 
odor of sulphuretted hydrogen (supposed to be 


a symptom of causes which produce black decay, 
and demanding washes of chlorate of potash, or of 
salycilic acid), come within the province of the 
physician, who should be familiar with these signs 
and consider the effects of both disease and medi- 
cines upon the teeth, as well as upon the other 
organs of the body, and warn both patients and 
parents how to prevent the ravages which the den- 
tist will otherwise have to repair. 



There is one important point that we have not 
considered, in connection with the eruption of the 
baby-teeth, and that is : What food is best suited 
to the infant's stomach, during the transition from 
mother's milk to a regular diet of solid food ? 

The first of all foods is, of course, milk. It has 
been ascertained, by chemical experiment, that the 
difference between pure, unadulterated cow's milk 
and the milk of the human mother lies mainly in 
the larger proportion of sugar in the latter, and the 
smaller proportion of caseine, cow's milk forming 
a more tough and indigestible curd. The most 
eminent of the more recent authorities on the sub- 
ject of Infant Diet, however, authorize the free use 
of cow's milk, if it can be made a matter of certainty 
that it is pure and unadulterated. 


Milk from the Jersey and Alderney breeds is too 
rich in cream for the infant stomach, the Ayrshire 
and grade cows furnishing a fluid more nearly 
resembling human milk. Milk for an infant should 
be always from the same cow, which should be 
young and healthy, supplied with plenty of good 
pasturage, and sweet clean feed and pure water, 
and kept quiet and gentle and in good condition. 
When such milk as this cannot be obtained, and it 
is rarely possible in large cities (and not always 
even in the country), Dr. E. N. Chapman, in his 
valuable work, entitled " Infant Diet" says that 
the nearest approach to the mother's milk, ki with 
the addition of the valuable properties of lime," is 
prepared as follows : 

" Take of condensed milk two teaspoonfuls ; 
water, twenty-four teaspoonfuls ; lime-water, four 
teaspoonfuls ; powdered sugar, half a teaspoonful ; 
salt, a small pinch. 

" Having brought the water to a blood heat, 
measure the milk accurately by dipping it out with 
one spoon and pouring it into another ; and having 
mixed and stirred the several ingredients together, 
the quantity for one feeding is prepared. 

" If milk fresh from the cow be used instead of 
condensed milk, it should, if to a certainty unadul- 
terated, be diluted in one-half water, and then the 
lime-water and other ingredients added in the 
same proportions as before given. 

" If a bottle is used, fit it with a black rubber 


nipple instead of the poisonous white (which is 
whitened with arsenic), and draw a half teaspoon- 
ful of spirits, diluted with water, through the rub- 
ber after each feeding ; this prevents fermentation, 
but the nipple should be renewed frequently, as it 
is almost impossible to keep it clean and sweet." 

Of the different ingredients here combined he 
says : 

" A long series of experiments warrant the fol- 
lowing conclusions : 

" The constituents of milk are blended together 
in condensed milk, as when fresh milk has been 
scalded {not boiled}. 

" Condensed milk, owing to this change, and the 
removal of a portion of the caseine in the process 
of condensation, is better adapted to the stomach of 
an infant than milk fresh from the cow. 

" Both plain and condensed milk are, by the 
addition of a proper proportion of lime-water, 
closely assimilated to mother's milk, the caseine 
being held in emulsion until the milk has been 
intimately mixed with the gastric juice, and then it 
is precipitated in such a state of minute division as 
to be readily digested. 

" Salt aids in the stability of the emulsion and 
in the solution of caseine, and in some way, not 
well understood, promotes digestion, absorption 
and assimilation. Sugar of milk is also another 
essential element. " 

Dr. Chapman is very decided in his opinion of the 
value of lime-water, saying in another place : 


41 Lime-water and milk is not only food and 
medicine combined for the infant, but is equally 
invaluable later in life when the functions of diges- 
tion and assimilation have been seriously impaired. 
A stomach taxed by gluttony, irritated by improper 
food, inflamed by alcohol, enfeebled by disease, or 
otherwise unfitted for its duties, as is shown by 
the various symptoms attendant upon indigestion, 
dyspepsia, diarrhoea, dysentery and fever, will 
resume its work, and do it energetically, on an 
exclusive diet of lime-water and milk. A goblet 
of cow's milk, to which four tablespoonfuls of lime- 
water have been added, will agree with any person, 
however objectionable the plain article may be ; 
will be friendly to the stomach when all other food 
is oppressive, and will be digested when all else 
fails to afford nourishment. 

"The blood being thin, the nerves weak, the 
nutrition poor, the secretions defective, and the 
excretions insufficient, nature here offers a remedy 
as common as the air, almost as cheap as water. 
In it all the elements of nutrition are so prepared 
by nature as to be readily adapted to the infant or 
the adult stomach, and so freighted with healing vir- 
tues as to work a cure when drugs are worse than 
useless. " 

Oatmeal furnishes a valuable article of infant diet, 
prepared as follows : One cup of oatmeal to a quart 
of water, soaked over night and then boiled until 
it thickens perceptibly ; then strain, sweeten, and 


add milk, prepared as above, in equal proportions at 
first, but gradually reducing the milk, as the babe 
becomes accustomed to it. 

•If the child is inclined to constipation, " Nestle' s 
Mother's Milk Substitute — Lacteous Farina" — 
will be found of inestimable value. 

When the baby wants to bite, give it oatmeal 
or Graham crackers, instead of sweet-cakes or fine 
flour biscuit. 

The juice from a tough strip of lean, raw beef- 
steak, long enough to be held firmly while sucked, 
is easy of digestion and very nourishing ; soup, too, 
is good, but it should be a clear broth, not too 
strong, and without vegetables, though it may be 
whitened with rice, or barley, and strained. 

A little later, eggs are suitable ; also sweet or 
Irish potatoes, finely mashed and made of the con- 
sistency of cream, with milk and lime-water. 

Gradually add other articles of light, easy diges- 
tion and good nutritive qualities, including ripe 
fruits, accustoming it to the solid food necessary for 
the exercise and strengthening of the teeth them- 
selves after the molars appear. 

Do not be anxious to have your baby too fat, for 
fat is not always^fe^. Abnormal fat is as much 
out of place, and as little to^be desired, in a healthy 
baby, as is zfat man or &fat horse. 

After all the twenty teeth of the first set are in 
place, govern the diet of your child by the general 
rules laid down in the preceding chapters for the 


regulation of your own diet, and you cannot go 

Another important point to be borne in mind 
with regard to this period of life, is that children 
require food more frequently than older persons. 

At this period of rapid growth and development, 
all the functions of life — respiration, circulation 
and digestion — are proportionately rapid, as indi- 
cated by the heart-beat and the pulse. 

Pereira says: u In children the function of nu- 
trition is more active than in adults. They have 
not merely to repair the daily waste — that is, to 
renovate their tissues — but to grow. Their func- 
tions of circulation and respiration are, therefore, 
more active than in after life, and they require 
food — that is, substances to support the process of 
respiration — to be administered at shorter inter- 

Food containing large proportions of carbon and 
hydrogen furnish the elements of respiration or 
serve as " fuel to be burnt in the lungs. " 

Children therefore require a larger proportion of 
such food than adults. Arrow-root, tapioca, sago, 
and other starch-foods, supply the elements of 
respiration, or fuel for the lungs, only, and although 
important for this purpose, must be supplemented 
with food containing nitrogen — as milk and the 
cereal grains, wheat, oatmeal, etc. — to furnish the 
elements for the growth of bone and muscle. But 
I have already endeavored to make this plain to 


you in a preceding chapter. The same general 
rules that were laid down for the regulation of your 
own diet, should govern that of your child. 

With systematic diet, regular meals (five a day, 
gradually reduced to three), fresh air, and suitable 
dress, the baby, unless exposed to contagious or 
subject to hereditary diseases, may be kept in 
health, and the baby-teeth preserved intact, until 
nature is ready to replace them with the permanent 



We will now consider why it is a matter of first 
importance that the baby-teeth — which are all 
eventually to be replaced by larger, stronger, better 
ones — should nevertheless be preserved in all their 
integrity until, having done their duty, nature re- 
moves them, one by one (as their successors are 
ready to come forward) , by a most beautiful process 
— one of the most wonderful in the human econ- 
omy — namely, the absorption (or gradual wasting 
away) of the roots. The crowns then detach them- 
selves from the gum and fall from the mouth, 
having fulfilled their mission without ever having 
caused a moment's pain or suffering to the happy 
child where the teeth are naturally of good mate- 
rial and have been properly cared for. 


How different is the case with the teeth of those 
unfortunate children whose mothers, through igno- 
rance or neglect, allow the little pearls to lie em- 
bedded in the foul remains of decaying food, cor- 
roded by the gases from a stomach overloaded with 
unsuitable, indigestible, unmasticated food, until 
they are absolutely eaten away, entailing the most 
cruel tortures of toothache, day after day and night 
after night, until, amid shrieks of agony, the teeth 
are extracted. 

When the baby-teeth loosen and fall out, in 
nature's own time, they have no roots left, but 
when they are extracted prematurely, the roots are 
long and firmly attached, and in the case of the 
first molars (so often mistaken for baby-teeth and 
allowed to decay as such), even larger and more 
divergent than in the other permanent teeth. 

The tooth, being frail from decay, offers no firm 
hold to the instruments of the dentist, and as it is 
usually supposed that anybody can full a baby- 
tootk, the young, tender jaw-bone itself is often 
injured in these attempts at premature extraction. 

The loss to the child of the organs of mastication 
is also a serious one. 

The stomach being overtaxed by unmasticated, 
indigestible food, the general health must suffer. 
Assimilation being imperfect, nutrition is impaired, 
and the growth and development of all the organs 

Dr. Thomas Gaddes, editor of the English Den- 


tal Record, says: " To the child whose diet con- 
sists in part of solid food, the temporary teeth are 
as valuable in preparing that food for digestion as 
are the permanent ones to the adult. Indeed, it is 
more important that the child should have the 
agents necessary for performing well the first part 
of the digestive process, for if a child — say four 
years old — be deprived of a few of its organs of 
mastication, and if it be allowed solid food that it 
cannot masticate, it is not unfeasible that by the 
greater excitability of its nervous system in early 
life, its delicate digestive apparatus should be de- 
ranged, and diarrhoea, convulsions, or other reflex 
disturbances be set up, as well as the nutrition of 
the child interfered with." 

Dr. Gaddes also refers the great loss of infantile 
life, as recorded in the tables of mortality, to the 
use of improper food, imperfectly prepared for 
digestion by defective teeth, or through the want 
of these organs. He says : 

" By so much precisely as the power of mastica- 
tion is reduced, and its proper performance hin- 
dered, by so much will the process of nutrition, 
and healthy, vigorous, perfect structural formation 
be impaired, as the ultimate result." 

If the decay is allowed to go on until suppura- 
tion takes place, and an abscess (or gum-boil) is 
formed, the growing germs of the permanent teeth 
are liable to be injured (or the growth of the roots 
entirely checked if they are already well advanced 


toward eruption), by the inflammation of the sur- 
rounding tissues. 

Decay being allowed to reach this point, the 
" nerve" being destroyed, the tooth is dead, and 
usually no further absorption of the root takes 
place. It then becomes an obstacle in the way of 
the new tooth, which is forced to make its way out 
at some other point, inside or outside of the arch, 
thus producing irregularity of the permanent teeth. 

Another consideration with regard to the decay 
of the deciduous teeth is the effect of their prema- 
ture extraction upon the jaw itself, and the spaces 
to be occupied by the permanent teeth. 

After a tooth is extracted, nature has no further 
use for the empty socket, as such, but, as it con- 
tains valuable mineral elements, building materi- 
als, it is soon taken down, as it was built up, cell 
by cell, and the materials probably taken into the 
circulation, to be used again in building up other 
organs requiring the same elements — perhaps even 
contributing to the growth of the permanent teeth 
now rapidly advancing. 

The teeth being held in their upright position 
partly by the lateral pressure exerted by one against 
the other, the bony walls of the socket of the lost 
tooth having disappeared, the pressure from the 
remaining teeth upon those adjoining the vacant 
place meeting with no opposition, gradually crowd 
them over into this space, which is sometimes thus 
entirely obliterated. 


When this occurs in several different places in 
the mouth, the consequent contraction of the arch, 
and loss of space, cannot fail to be disastrous to the 
regularity of the permanent teeth. 

If more teeth are removed from one side than 
from the other, which is very apt to be the case, 
the unresisted strain of the powerful muscles on 
that side of the face will draw even the lips and 
the nose to one side, producing absolute distortion 
of the face, and marring its beauty forever. 

Even if extraction be equal on both sides, the 
consequent shrinkage will give an aged look to the 
young face that is painful and unpleasant. 

Thus arguments almost ad infinitum can be 
urged for the care and preservation of the decidu- 
ous teeth. 

Let the minutest cavity of decay be, therefore, 
filled promptly, no matter how young your child 
may be when the little black speck shows itself. 



You will perhaps laugh and think I am joking, 
if I tell you that one of my own children had a 
tooth filled before he was a year old ! But it is 
nevertheless a fact. The little fellow was about 
nine months old when the "upper central inci- 
sors " ( or first little upper teeth in the centre of 


the jaw) came through. I soon noticed that one of 
them was marred by a little round yellow spot on 
its front face, near the cutting edge. In a few 
weeks this formed a cavity of decay. Fearing the 
toothache for my tender babe, when he was eleven 
months old I seated myself in the chair of the den- 
tist, with the baby sound asleep in my arms. 
Holding the upper lip out of the way with my 
finger, with keen instruments all the decayed por- 
tions were removed so deftly that the babe never 
stirred nor woke, and the cavity was filled with 
"white filling," or cement. 

The baby had the whooping-cough, however, at 
the time, and being seized with a paroxysm during 
the operation, the filling got wet before it had time 
to harden, and did not prove durable. 

At the age of thirteen months the tooth was 
therefore filled again, this time with white alloy, 
the baby being wide awake and sitting alone in the 
big chair (with a little chair in it) apparently 
enjoying the honor conferred upon him, and occa- 
sionally demanding to u thpit," as he had seen done 
by the preceding patient. 

This preserved the tooth until the age of three 
years, when the tooth having worn down from the 
edge, the filling fell out. The cavity being white 
and clean, no further decay having taken place, it 
was again filled, this time with gold, which pre- 
served it perfectly until it fell from the gums at the 
proper time, with the root well absorbed. 


As illustrating the effect that injuries to the first 
teeth may have upon the second, I will add that the 
permanent tooth which replaced that defective one 
has a similar but white spot upon it, which, how- 
ever, shows no tendency to decay, and is the only 
blemish in the otherwise perfect full set of teeth of 
a boy now (1883) fifteen years old, and in whose 
case the system laid down in these letters has been 
fully carried out. 

Therefore, I say again, carry your child early to 
the dentist, that the very first symptoms of decay 
may be detected and checked. It will not do to 
rely upon your own judgment as to the real condi- 
tion of the teeth. 

Notwithstanding all your care, decay is so in- 
sidious, and due to so many remote and perhaps 
hereditary causes, that it may obtain a foothold all 
unsuspected by you, to be discovered only by the 
trained eye and delicate touch of the instrument of 
the skilled dentist. 

The integrity and regularity of the second set, as 
well as the health of your child, depends so much 
upon the condition of the first set, that there should 
be no guess-work about the latter. 

Take your child, therefore, regularly to the den- 
tist every few months after it has a mouthful of 
teeth. Have a clear understanding with him from 
the beginning, that those teeth are to be henceforth 
under his special charge ; that, feeling your need 
of his advice and co-operation in their care, you 
intend conscientiously to second his efforts for their 


preservation, and that you share with him the 
responsibility of their integrity. With such an 
understanding, the charges for mere examination 
at regular intervals will be but light ; and there will 
rarely be any necessity for anything else, in a large 
majority of cases, if the precepts herein laid down 
are faithfully followed out. 

Dr. Homer Judd sums up the reasons for all this 
care of the baby-teeth as follows : 

1st. Because they are needed for daily use. 

2d. Because it will prevent a great amount of 
pain and sickness. 

3d. Because by these means the nutritive process 
will be carried on better, and as a consequence, the 
health, growth and development of children will be 
better than would be the case if these organs were 
prematurely lost, and a better development of all 
parts will be thus attained ; and 

4th. As the regularity of the permanent teeth 
depends very much upon the proper development 
of the maxillary bones, we have no doubt but that 
the proper care and retention of the deciduous set 
will exert a salutary influence upon the former. 



When your baby's first big jaw teeth came in, 
at the age of perhaps twelve months, they were 
apparently as far back in the little jaw as a tooth 


could well be placed ; yet, as the child entered its 
third year, you found there was then ample space 
for still another big tooth back of the first, the jaw 
having evidently lengthened out to the rear, the 
front teeth still having their old fixed places and 
relative positions. 

Caring for your child's teeth yourself, as I am 
confident you will do, you will note all the changes 
that occur from time to time, and consequently will 
find that the jaw continues to make space back of 
the teeth, until, at about the age of six years, still 
another new tooth will make its appearance beyond 
the two baby molars which have been doing good 
service for three or four years. 

You will not be liable to suppose, as does many 
a- more ignorant mother, that there are three jaw 
teeth in the baby set (and their decay immaterial, 
because they are all to be replaced). Tou will 
know that it cannot belong to the baby set of 
twenty teeth, and also that merely replacing this 
latter number will not afford the thirty-two which 
make up the permanent set, even the addition of 
the four u wisdom teeth," with which all are 
familiar, making but twenty-four. When, where 
and how do the eight others come ? 

This new tooth, coming in at about the age of 
six years, is the first molar (or jaw-tooth) of the 
permanent set, frequently called the " sixth-year 
molar," from the age at which they make their 


ON THE^^^SJfg^F^PttE TEETH. 6l 

Dr. Welchens calls these teeth the " corner-stones 
of the arches, the outposts and main supports of 
the whole process of second dentition. 91 

These teeth are of special importance, for several 
reasons : In the first place, they are ready for ser- 
vice while the baby teeth are being lost and re- 
placed ; and in the second place, they are the larg- 
est teeth in the permanent set and in the centre of 
the arch, therefore the principal ones in the whole 
wall. They are also exactly opposite the duct (or 
aperture) which furnishes the largest portion of 
saliva, for the preparation of food for digestion. 

As, for some as yet not well understood cause, 
they are more liable to early decay than any of the 
later teeth, they must receive special care and atten- 
tion ; and on the first slight appearance of decay be 
promptly filled, and, if necessary, refilled. 

Dr. Wm. H. Dwindle speaks of these teeth as 
being u the largest of all the molars, and appointed 
to the post of honor of bridging over the critical 
and dangerous gulf between youth and maturity ; 
and as making normal mastication possible while 
the temporary teeth pass away and are succeeded 
by the permanent ones." 

Watch for these sixth-year molars, then, and give 
them your most careful attention. They are liable 
to be less dense than the other teeth, and may re- 
quire filling and refilling, but they are of sufficient 
importance to justify it, for with proper care and 
suitable diet they will improve in texture as they 
grow older. 


After these four teeth have come into place, the 
little "front teeth" soon loosen and fall out, one 
after the other. 

The baby teeth are exchanged for new ones in 
about the same order that they erupted, but in about 
twice the length of time. 

This replacement is preceded, as we have seen, 
by the eruption of these " sixth-year" or first four 
permanent molars (or jaw-teeth) and followed, at 
about the age of from eleven to thirteen by four 
others, still further back, as the jaw has again ex- 
tended in length — the latter being known as the 
"twelfth-year" or second permanent molars. The 
six years intervening between the eruption of these 
additional eight jaw-teeth are occupied in exchang- 
ing the twenty baby teeth for twenty permanent 
ones — none of the replacing teeth being double 
teeth or molars. 

The eight incisors (or central front teeth) should 
all be exchanged for similar but larger and stronger 
ones, by the time the child is nine years old. 

Then — passing over the canines (stomach and 
eye-teeth) as was the case with their eruption, the 
eight baby molars are exchanged — not for new 
molars, but for another class of teeth, not found in 
the first set, called bicuspids, from their form (a 
cusp being a point or prominence) — the eye-teeth 
for instance, having one cusp, and the bicuspids 

These bicuspids, being small half-double teeth,. 


are not infrequently pointed out to the dentist by 
would-be-wise patients as evidence of not having 
yet shed all the baby teeth ! 

The eight bicuspids being usually in place at 
about the age of twelve years, the canines (or 
stomach and eye-teeth) are next replaced by others 
of the same shape, but larger and stronger ; the 
twelfth-year molars make their appearance (some- 
times before or while the canines are being ex- 
changed), the eruption of the third molars (or 
wisdom-teeth) completing the full adult set of 
thirty- two teeth, without which no mouth is in 
perfect condition to provide for all the wants of 
the system. The eruption of the wisdom-teeth 
varies from the ages of fifteen to fifty years of age ; 
and they are sometimes the cause of severe suffer- 
ing, from not having sufficient room developed in 
the jaw for their occupation, the jaws and teeth 
not having been properly exercised in mastication. 

An Arab proverb reads: "He who does not 
masticate well is an enemy to his own life." 

No arguments for the care and preservation of 
the permanent teeth need be adduced beyond those 
already given in regard to the temporary ones. 

" Their preservation and usefulness for speech 
and mastication till advanced life ; the favorable 
impression made upon the general health by the 
ability thoroughly to masticate the food ; the com- 
fort of a pure breath and wholesome saliva ; and 
the agreeable effect produced upon others by the 


exhibition of a clean and healthy mouth, are surely 
reasons enough to induce all to pay that attention 
to them upon which their appearance, preservation 
and usefulness depend." 

The suffering in masticating food with sensitive 
or aching teeth, or the inconvenience when a num- 
ber of them is lost, " can only be properly appreci- 
ated by those who have been unfortunate enough 
to have had some experience in this direction." 
Speaking with distinctness and comfort depends 
much upon a full and even set of teeth. If they 
are crowded and irregular, or if there is now and 
then one missing, it affects the voice at once, and is 
very annoying to others who are obliged to listen 
to it. Public speakers often fail to produce the 
effect they desire upon their hearers, from this 
cause, and are not conscious of it themselves. 

Nothing contributes more to the beauty of the 
features than a perfect, regular, clean set of teeth, 
while a neglected, filthy, diseased mouth is painful 
to all beholders. 

The opinion is held by those who have given 
this subject the closest study, that " upon an aver- 
age, life is shortened one year for each tooth lost. 
If this is true, as it must be to a great extent, how 
important the preservation of every tooth in a 
healthy and working condition ! The hygienic 
care of the teeth is so understandable and simple, 
that no one is excusable for not carrying out its 
indications most perfectly. 

" When disease has attacked the teeth, usually 


but little or no concern is manifested about it. If 
the eye or the ear becomes diseased, the utmost 
solicitude is at once manifested, and no effort for 
restoration is left untried. Time, money, and the 
highest skill are all called into requisition — and 
used lavishly, too, if a cure can but be obtained — 
and yet the loss of an eye or an ear, usually, will 
not affect the system at all. But the teeth may 
become diseased and the patient suffer for months 
and years, and even sicken and die, without any 
one considering that disease of the teeth could exer- 
cise any influence beyond the cavity of the mouth, 
while the truth is, when the teeth are diseased, 
every organ and every fibre in the body suffers as a 
consequence. " 

It is said on the authority of the last United 
States census, that but one person in eighty has 
sound teeth. It is also said by those who have 
made a study of these things, that one hundred 
years ago one person in every twenty- five had per- 
fect teeth, while two hundred years ago the pro- 
portion was one in every five ! 

What a comment upon the civilization of the 
nineteenth centurv of enlightenment and culture ! 



And now a few words as to the better understood 
and more avoidable causes of the decay of the 
teeth, and the possibilities of its prevention. 


Dr. Marvin, of Brooklyn, N.Y., says: 

u Purely preventive treatment must begin far 
back, antedating birth, conception, marriage. In 
the girlhood of the yet future mother, the instruc- 
tions should be given, which, if followed, will 
secure uniform physical development, perfect ner- 
vous balance, a healthy circulation, good digestion 
— in a word, robust health. This is the time for, 
and this is preventive treatment. It consists of 
nutritious diet, regularity of habits, exercise in the 
open air — (such exercise as employs all the ma- 
chinery of the human frame, as walking, horseback 
riding, rowingj ; a style of dress which does not 
hinder the free action of the internal organs, which 
does not distort the body nor weigh unduly upon 
the abdomen, nor overclothe one part, leaving an- 
other unprotected ; regular and consistent habits of 
thought ; the cultivation of equability of temper and 
sufficient sleep at the proper hours of sleep. 

" Such habits of life, many of which I know are 
not fashionable, will prepare a woman to transmit 
to the children she may bring into the world, an 
inheritance of incalculable value and permanent 
duration. " 

This is but another way of saying what I have 
been urging upon you from the very first of these 
letters ; for what will give robust health will make 
good teeth, and will maintain good teeth. 

You ask, then, why do the teeth decay? 

First, we will look at the natural surroundings 
of the teeth. 


They are constantly bathed in the fluid secretions 
of the mouth ; they are implanted in a fibrous tissue 
covered with a membrane which secretes large quan- 
tities of mucus ; and they are kept constantly at a 
comparatively high temperature. 

You know that when acids, such as lemon-juice, 
vinegar, or strong medicines, are accidentaly spilled 
upon the marble top of your sideboard, wash-stand 
or bureau, that it is permanently injured, if they are 
allowed to remain there ; the fine gloss is destroyed? 
the surface roughened, and if a round drop stands 
long, a little pit is formed. 

Now, marble is one example of lime formation, 
and your teeth another. All acid foods, fruits, 
drinks, medicines, tooth-washes or powders, are 
therefore injurious to the teeth if allowed to remain 
about them. 

" Most people have experienced what is com- 
monly called teeth set on edge. The explanation 
of it is, the acid of the fruit that has been eaten has 
so far softened the enamel of the tooth that the least 
pressure is felt by the tiny nerve fibrils pervading 
the bony part of the tooth. Such an effect cannot 
be produced without injuring the enamel. True, 
it will become hard again, when the acid has been 
removed by the fluids of the mouth, just as an egg- 
shell that has been softened in this way becomes 
hard again by being put in water. When the 
effect of sour fruit on the teeth subsides, they feel 
as well as ever, but they are not as well. And the 


oftener it is repeated, the sooner the disastrous 
consequences will be manifested/ ' 

Therefore, rinse your teeth promptly and thor- 
oughly with an alkaline wash (simple lime-water 
is good), to neutralize all such acids; and your 
teeth will not decay from this cause. 

Food of any kind, if allowed to accumulate 
around and between the teeth, will, in the natural 
high temperature of the mouth, ferment and gen- 
erate acids, which will cause the teeth to decay : 

Therefore, keep your teeth scrupulously clean 
and free from all particles of food, and they will 
not decay from this cause. 

Cracking nuts and biting threads will fracture 
the enamel and allow acids to penetrate to the den- 
tine, inducing rapid decay ; also allowing ingress 
to the germs, bacteria, and what not, which are 
supposed to run riot in the animal tissues of the 
teeth : 

Therefore, do not crack nuts or bite threads 
with your teeth, and they will not decay from this 

Very hot drinks or very cold drinks will have 
the same effect upon the enamel of your teeth that 
the same sudden changes of temperature would 
have upon a fine glass goblet : 

Therefore, do not expose your teeth to these 
changes of temperature (as, for instance, a cup of 
very hot tea or coffee, followed by a glass of ice- 
water), and your teeth will not decay from this 


Dr. Richardson (of the Odontological Society 
of Great Britain) thinks that one of the most effi- 
cient causes of the decay of the teeth is found " in 
that form of dyspepsia induced in early life by 
improper feeding, especially in the substitution of 
artificial foods for the natural breast milk. . . . 
the child being deprived of its natural and admira- 
bly adapted food, and supplied with nourishment 
which its stomach could not digest, nor its body 
assimilate, its tissues, generally, were imperfectly 
constructed, and although it might retrieve in after- 
life some of the harm which had been inflicted, in 
the case of tissues which are constantly undergoing 
reconstruction, in the case of such dense structures 
as the teeth, perfection was impossible if the start 
was bad." 

Another very frequent cause of decay and irregu- 
larity of the teeth lies in the inheritance of incon- 
gruous jaws and teeth from the two parents. The 
father having large teeth in a corresponding jaw, 
and the mother small teeth in a small jaw, though 
both may have perfect sets of teeth, the inheritance 
may nevertheless be most unfortunate for the chil- 
dren. The teeth being as a rule inherited from 
the father (Drs. Winder and Coy say eight times 
out of ten), and the bones — including, of course, 
the jaw — from the mother, the large teeth of the 
one being crowded into the small jaw of the other, 
the teeth of the children will probably be irregu- 
lar and overlapping, and cleanliness consequently 
next to impossible. 


But these things are rarely taken into considera- 
tion when young people fall in love and marry, 
and a little rosebud mouth is so lovely in a wom- 
an's face ! 

Reverse the case, and let the father have small 
teeth, and the mother a large jaw, and the hap- 
piest results may be expected in the next genera- 
tion. And this about exhausts the list of the more 
ordinary causes of decayed teeth. 

There are others, attributable to hereditary and 
transmit tible diseases, which are beyond control, 
as society now exists. This may appear a very 
delicate subject to touch upon, but it is neverthe- 
less a fact that, until the culture of the human race 
is made a matter of as much consideration as the 
raising of fine poultry or live-stock, men and wom- 
en, who have no moral right to bring into the 
world children to inherit and perpetuate disease 
and suffering, will marry and transmit the curse of 
hereditary and incurable disease to countless gen- 
erations yet to come. 

And teeth will continue to decay, from this cause, 
so long as these things are not understood and 
made a matter of serious consideration, before 




There are some diseases of the soft tissues of the 
mouth (or rather of the gums) which require brief 
mention, in connection with this subject, especially 
those which result from lack of proper care of the 

In their healthy condition the gums are firm and 
tough, forming regular festoons around and be- 
tween the teeth ; their color is even and fine, and 
not too high ; their nerves are not sensitive, and 
their slightly acid secretions are neutralized by the 
alkaline saliva. When diseased, the tissue be- 
comes soft and flabby ; the color denotes inflam- 
mation, and they bleed at the slightest touch, or 
pus (or matter) is discharged from around the 
necks of the teeth ; their nerves become acutely 
sensitive ; the secretions abnormally acid, causing 
sensitive grooves around the necks of the teeth, 
which may eventually decay. The breath is also 
rendered foul and offensive, sending poisonous 
effluvia. to the lungs, and poisoning the blood. 

The causes of this diseased condition of the gums 
are various, but all are traceable to the same gen- 
eral source — namely, neglect of the teeth, and 
ignorance of the consequences. 

Particles of food, crowded down under the edges 
of the gum, generate acids and cause irritation and 


The saliva deposits more or less tartar upon the 
teeth ; soft and pasty, and small in quantity at first, 
and easily removed by the brush ; but if allowed to 
accumulate, increasing rapidly — like attracting 
like — and becoming hard and gritty, working its 
way under the gums down the roots of the teeth, 
it loosens them, sometimes detaching them entirely 
and causing them to fall, whole and undecayed, 
from their sockets. 

The only treatment for this is — prevent it in 
the first place, by absolute cleanliness of the teeth, 
and have it removed by the dentist with proper 
instruments if you have allowed it to accumulate. 

All washes or other preparations, advertised as 
being able to dissolve the tartar, will also dissolve 
the enamel of the tooth itself. 

The same may be said of the removal of green 
or brown discolorations or stains, seen around the 
necks of the teeth of both children and adults. 

Gum-boils are the result of the decomposition of 
a dead pulp (or nerve) of the tooth preceded by 
decay. They are prevented by preventing de- 
cay, and cured by proper treatment of the tooth 
by the dentist. 

Swelled face results from the same cause, and 
requires the same treatment. 

Never poultice or make hot applications of any 
kind on the outside, or a disfiguring scar may be 
the result. Reduce the inflammation by cold appli- 
cations externally, and apply a hot roasted raisin 


or fig on the inside (the proper spot will indicate 
itself) , and sec your dentist. 

In the care of the teeth as well as of the general 
health, too much importance cannot be attached to 
lime-water, as I said before. 

A pitcher appropriated solely to its preparation, 
should be found in every household, and a bottle 
of clear lime-water should have a place on the 
sideboard, and on every wash-stand in the house. 

It is always ready, and requires no preparation, 
as is the case with carbonate of soda and other alka- 
line preparations. It is equally invaluable to both 
adult and infant. 

If the mouth be well rinsed with lime-water after 
every meal, and especially after eating any acid 
fruit, or drinking lemonade, and also just before re- 
tiring at night, a large proportion of the teeth that, 
without this simple precaution, would decay, may 
be kept sound, without any further care or expense 
than the use of the brush and tooth-pick. 

The toothache of pregnancy may frequently be 
relieved by this simple remedy. 

A spoonful, in a little clear water, swallowed on 
the first symptoms of indigestion (such as a feeling 
of fulness, acid risings in the throat, etc.) will often 
act like a charm in preventing any further indispo- 

Added to the milk fed to an infant, it prevents 
the formation of tough curds and renders the milk 
more easily digestible. 


The vomiting and diarrhoea of an infant may also 
often be checked by the frequent administration of 
a teaspoonful of lime-water in three or four of water 
or milk. 

But especially in the care of the teeth it is in- 
valuable as a prophylactic, or preventive of decay. 

And now, my dear young friend, a brief enu- 
meration in my next letter, of a few of the diseases 
which may fairty be attributed to decayed teeth as 
their first cause, must bring to a close this already 
too lengthy correspondence. 

Under the stimulus of your appreciative replies, 
and your repeated requests for still further informa- 
tion, it has grown into almost a scientific disserta- 
tion, far beyond its original design. 



The tooth is an integral part of the human body 
— u nourished by the same aliments, vitalized by 
the same blood, pervaded by the same nerves" — 
as the heart, the lungs or the brain. 

The stomach is the great laboratory of the hu- 
man system. Dr. Edward Nelson says: "For the 
proper performance of its functions, it should be in 
a healthy condition ; but this may be seriously de- 
ranged and the whole economy thrown into disor- 
der, and even fatal consequences result from intense 


pain, as it shoots and vibrates along the nerves 
from the swollen and inflamed pulp of a single 

The first and inevitable effect of decayed teeth 
upon the general health is indigestion from insuffi- 
cient mastication, and the swallowing of the vitiated 
fluids of the mouth. 

The digestive organs ceasing to do their duty, 
;t the blood becomes vitiated, and the whole organ- 
ism becomes enfeebled, with its attendant gradual 
wasting away and loss of vital power." 

Frequent indigestions result in chronic dyspepsia, 
gastritis, enteritis and death. 

Neuralgia in connection with decayed teeth is 
too common to need mention. Another considera- 
tion is that even the extraction of decayed teeth 
becomes a fresh cause of neuralgia, thus affording 
a double reason against allowing the teeth to decay. 

The effluvia from decayed teeth poisons the 
breath, and entering the lungs becomes a potent 
factor in the causes of consumption. 

The discharging pus from diseased gums and 
decayed teeth poisons the secretions and the blood, 
resulting in septicemia or blood poisoning. 

The lamented Dr. J. Marion Sims, of New York, 
says : u Decayed teeth, with matter exuding from 
around the teeth, are the means of producing more 
nervous disorders, more terrible consequences to 
the general health than almost any other thing that 
can happen. ... It is a matter of regret that 


medical men generally have so little knowledge on 
this subject." 

Dr. N. E. Hollace, of Boston, also says : " The 
bad effects of a diseased and unclean mouth upon 
the general health are of a more serious conse- 
quence than most physicians are aware. In twenty- 
four hours we breathe twenty thousand times, and 
what must be the effect upon the delicate structure 
of the lungs when, for days, months and years, the 
air we breathe is drawn through a depository of 
filth, and is poisoned by being mixed with effluvia 
arising from decayed teeth and ulcerated gums." 

An English physician relates the case of a gen- 
tleman, pronounced by one of the highest medical 
authorities of the day to be afflicted with cancer of 
the stomach, twenty years ago, to whom it was 
proposed to have his decayed teeth removed, and 
an artificial set inserted. He says: " This pro- 
posal seemed almost a mockery to a man who had 
just been assured that he was gradually sinking 
from an inevitably fatal malady, but it was acted 
upon, with the result that the patient soon regained 
his digestive power, and is alive at the present day, 
a fairly vigorous man of eighty years of age." 

Dr. Winston, of Nashville, says : " I once saw a 
cancer which had resisted all treatment of physi- 
cian and charlatan — a dentist cured it in five min- 
utes. I saw a woman wasting under consumption, 
and regarded as doomed to die. Her teeth were 
extracted, and now she walks the streets of Nash- 


ville with as blithe a step and as agile as any 
young lady in the city." 

Dr. Peetz, of Merseberg, Germany, relates the 
case of a working woman with paralysis of the 
left side. She having stated that the paralysis 
came on after an attack of acute pain in a certain 
tooth, the tooth being extracted, the paralysis was 
cured and never again recurred. 

Dr. Samuel Sexton, who has been engaged in 
an investigation of the teeth of school children, 
with special reference to the influence of decayed 
teeth upon the sight and hearing, testifies that he 
has found an almost constant association between 
near-sightedness, impaired hearing, and decayed 

He has also found them responsible for deep- 
seated cerebral trouble, progressive dementia (or 
insanity) having been arrested " by repairs on the 

Dr. Barnett, also, says : "It has long been 
known and recorded in medical literature that a 
peculiar sympathy exists between the ear and the 
teeth," while Dr. Edward Woakes, in his work on 
deafness, etc., traces this same connection through 
" the clear channel of nerve communication. " 

Dr. Koch, of Chicago, says: "Insanity has 
been cured by the extraction of carious teeth." 

Dr. Savage relates the case of a man who was 
more or less insane for six months, being some- 
times quite dangerous, during the six months of 


his insanity. As he was also suffering from tooth- 
ache, some decayed teeth were extracted and there 
was no return of the insanity." 

A case is also cited by the celebrated French 
Professor Velpeau, of a case of mental derange- 
ment in a lady, which was cured by the simple 
lancing of the gum, liberating a wisdom-tooth. 

Dr. Nelson, of Frederick, Md., says: "Dys- 
pepsia, phthisis pulmonalis, neuralgia, epilepsy, 
rheumatism, affections of the ear and eye, and 
even insanity, have each and all had their origin in 
a carious tooth.' ' 

Pages could be filled with similar statements, but 
surely enough has been said to show that the tooth- 
ache, excruciating as are its agonies, forms but a 
minor part of the evils resulting from decayed 
teeth, though, as Dr. Hollace says, mere " fain 
itself is fully capable of deranging the whole econ- 
omy, and inducing serious and fatal disorder." 

There is another point to be considered : 

Though health is of the first and prime impor- 
tance, beauty is a matter of no small consideration. 

A prime factor in beauty, and the most expres- 
sive feature of the human countenance is the 
mouth, and the expression of the mouth depends 
largely upon the teeth. " In vain will the eyes 
sparkle with joy and delight, if the lips are com- 
pressed to hide a mouth full of defective teeth. 
The whole countenance, beaming with brightness, 
loses half its charm by the exhibition of a foul and 


unsightly denture. Half the charms of real culture 
are lost when expressed through an unsightly den- 
ture, and the expression of sorrow and grief is 
made hideous by the exhibition of this living tomb 
of decay. " 


In conclusion, I will give you only one single 
case, though numerous others might be cited, in 
illustration of what can be, and has been, accom- 
plished by carefully and thoroughly following out 
such a system as that indicated in the preceding 
pages — the history of a family of five children, as 
narrated to me by their dentist (who was also their 
father) . 

There was every reason to anticipate poor teeth 
for them, for, on the paternal side, though the 
grandfather had fair average teeth, he lost them all 
before the age of fifty, while the grandmother lost 
all of hers before the age of thirty. The father, 
appreciating the value of his teeth, kept them in 
good condition by the most watchful care, but has 
numerous large fillings. Of his two sisters (he 
had no brothers) , one wears an artificial denture ; 
the other — much younger — has most of her own 
teeth yet, but they are very frail, and consist more 
of filling-material than tooth-substance. 

On the maternal side, the grandfather was tooth- 
less from the earliest recollection of his children, 


and the grandmother lost all of her teeth before the 
birth of any of the grandchildren to be mentioned. 
The mother wore a full upper and lower set before 
the conception of her first child ; her oldest sister 
wore six upper front teeth on pivots before the age 
of fourteen, and a full set before she was twenty; 
the second has very frail teeth, and only retains 
them by the greatest care, all of them having fill- 
ings ; the third has but a few ragged remnants of 
teeth left, and only waits for courage to have them 
extracted to wear a full set. No brothers. 

Knowing all this, and having given the subject 
much study, the father early endeavored to impress 
upon his wife his views of her responsibility in the 

He laid before her a theory of tooth-culture by 
tooth-nutrition, and prescribed the diet and "drugs" 
by which he hoped to provide suitable nutritive 
elements, first to the embryo through the mother's 
nutrition, second to the babe through her milk, and 
third to the babe itself in its diet, exercise, etc. 

But she responded but poorly to his efforts in the 
case of the first child. The prescribed diet was 
distasteful, with its brown bread, oatmeal porridge, 
etc. ; the lime-water and other prescriptions were 
unpalatable ; in short, to use her own words, 
"other people's children had teeth, and she sup- 
posed hers would, too, and she was not going to 
subject herself to any such vagaries in support of 
mere scientific theories." 


Being young and self-willed, and not long mar- 
ried, she had things pretty much her own way ; but 
she had the mortification of finding that her baby 
had soft, chalky, defective teeth, which before its 
third birthday had already received thirteen fillings, 
besides which it early suffered the loss of a lower 
molar, thereby, to a critical eye, marring the per- 
fect symmetry of the features. 

Concluding that it might perhaps be wiser to 
test the matter, radical changes were made in the 
diet and habits of the first child, and the mother 
adopted the prescribed regime, partially for the 
second child, and pretty fully for the three which 
followed. Bearing children rapidly, the first child 
being but little over four years old when the fourth 
was born, she was, however, unable to give that 
close personal attention to their teeth necessary to 
the absolute perfection of cleanliness. 

Necessarily left much to the ministrations of 
ignorant and careless servants, their sixth-year 
molars were neglected, while their diet, dress and 
exercise were often the very contrary to what they 
should have been, although the father, of course, 
gave them all the attention possible, in the little 
time that could be spared from his professional 
duties and the care of an invalid wife. 

But with all these drawbacks, let us see the 
results of even the partial following out of the 
theory of embryonic and infantile deittal nutri- 
tion : 


The oldest child had the soft, chalky baby-teeth 
so hardened and reconstructed as to require no 
further fillings after the thirteen put in before the 
third birthday, as already stated, and now, at the 
age of seventeen, with the exception of a slight 
irregularity resulting from the unfortunate early 
loss of the deciduous lower molar, as stated, has a 
perfect set of teeth, of fine structure and quality, 
with only very small fissure-fillings in two of the 
sixth-year molars, which, in consequence of inher- 
ited defective fissures, required attention within a 
few months of their eruption ; all of her teeth are 
otherwise intact. 

The second child, a boy^of nearly fifteen, has as 
even and sound a set of teeth as can be found any- 

The third, a girl of thirteen, has beautifully reg- 
ular, sound and perfect teeth. 

The fourth child, as far as the permanent teeth 
have erupted, with the exception of the same 
slight fissure-fillings, has absolutely no imperfec- 
tion whatever in her teeth, either in size, color, 
quality or position. 

It is too early yet to pronounce judgment upon 
the permanent teeth of the fifth child, as he is but 
seven years old; but as his deciduous teeth have 
remained intact with the exception of minute 
approximal fillings in the upper central incisors, 
which are now replaced by permanent teeth of fine 
quality, and as his sixth-year molars are of good 


texture, I think it is fairly proved by this case 
alone, even were there no others on record, that, 
by a judicious system of diet, selecting such arti- 
cles of food as offer the greatest abundance of min- 
eral elements ; by keeping the system in such a 
condition of general good health by bathing, exer- 
cise, fresh air, etc., that these elements will be 
assimilated and appropriated by the organs which 
specially require them, coming generations may 
be provided with strong, sound teeth. 

If such a system could be universally adopted, 
disease would be practically banished from the 

Strong, hearty, well nourished and well devel- 
oped men and women would replace the pale, 
puny, half-starved invalids who now form such a 
large proportion of our population. 

Mothers ! to you is committed the responsibil- 
ity of beginning this great work. In the words 
of another : fc< Important as it is in reference to the 
present, its magnitude awes us when we consider 
it with relation to the millions yet to come."